Search This Blog

Friday, July 31, 2015

Munich’s Got Its Eye on a Huge Highway System for Cyclists | Wired

Click to Open Overlay Gallery

Thursday, July 30, 2015

How Groningen invented a cycling template for cities all over the world @guardian

In Groningen, an impressive 61% of all trips are made by bicycle.
 In Groningen, an estimated 61% of all trips are made by bicycle. Photograph: Alamy
Motorists woke up one mid-70s morning to find new one-way streets made direct crosstown journeys impossible by car. Forty years later Groningen boasts two-thirds of all trips made by bike … and the cleanest air of any big Dutch city
Traffic lights with rain sensors to give quicker priority to cyclists on wet days … Heated cycle paths so cyclists won’t slip during bouts of frost … This might sound like science fiction to you, but in the Dutch city of Groningen it will soon be everyday reality. 
The inhabitants of this lively northern university city regard their homestead as the cycling capital of the Netherlands. They might very well be right: 61% of all trips in Groningen are made by bicycle, rising to more than 70% for trips made to educational institutions.
You might think the city authorities would be satisfied with these statistics. But apparently it’s not enough, and new plans are in the pipeline to push cycling even more.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

35-year-old American who thinks modern life is too stressful works 6 months a year, then lives on $10 a day adventuring around the world on a bicycle @bi_europe

UltraRomance bike camping guy lives free
Most of us lead a life that revolves around work. The average US worker, for example, clocks 47 hours a week, and when you add the time we spend commuting, another five to 10 hours, it pushes our total work-related hours over 55. Then there's work-related stress, which damages our health.
All of that can paint a vulgar picture of life in our modern world, one that two or three weeks' vacation can hardly remedy.
Then there are those who refuse to buy into all that and choose to live on the fringe, like Ultra Romance, a 35-year-old from the Connecticut River valley who works as little as possible — usually for six months a year — and then goes adventuring around the world with his bike and modest camping gear.

Beefed-Up Cyclist Moves Car off Bike Lane with Bare Hands - Video

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Survey finds bicyclists and motorists ignore traffic laws at similar rates | Public Radio International (PRI)

After surveying 18,000 people, Wesley Marshall, an associate professor of civil engineering 
at the University of Colorado, is trying to understand why cyclists, in particular, might bend 
or flat-out flout traffic regulations.

Answer honestly. As a bicyclist do you follow all the rules and regulations of the road?
Ever zipped over the speed limit, or glided past a stop sign when no one’s around?
When it comes to obeying traffic laws, “we’re all criminals,” says Wesley Marshall, an associate professor of civil engineering at the University of Colorado.
After surveying 18,000 people, Marshall is trying to understand why cyclists, in particular, might bend or flat-out ignore traffic regulations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bicycle Makers Struggle to Swat Down Counterfeits | NY Times

The Astana Pro team’s Vincenzo Nibali during the second stage of the Tour de France on July 5 in the Netherlands. Credit
Sebastien Nogier/European Pressphoto Agency
RODEZ, France — When Alberto Contador won the Tour de France in 2010 while riding a bicycle made by Specialized for the first time, Andrew Love was both elated and apprehensive.
“I knew they would be coming,” Love, the company’s head of brand protection, investigation and legal enforcement, recalled.
Contador’s success was ultimately short-lived — the title was revoked two years later because of doping — but that had nothing to do with Love’s fear: that Contador’s victory aboard the Specialized carbon fiber bicycle frame would hasten the arrival of copies from China, where there has been a surge in counterfeit high-end bikes, wheels and even helmets.
Unlike, for example, a fake Rolex watch that stops ticking, fake cycling products can have dangerous consequences, several manufacturers said.
[Keep reading at NY Times]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Bike Tour of Eastern Kentucky‘s Back Roads

Ale-8-One is a ginger-ale-like soda usually sold in glass bottles and popular in the hills of eastern Kentucky. During a bike trip through the region last month, for example, I washed down a burger with one on the back porch of a bed-and-breakfast owned by a man who once walked more than 3,000 miles across America on stilts. The next night, I blasted another out of the crook of a tree branch with a 9-millimeter Smith & Wesson.
I rarely drink soda and I’m not into guns. But what’s the point of travel if not to have new and sometimes discomforting experiences?
Eastern Kentucky, Appalachian coal country, was, in truth, a rather random destination, the result of browsing the routes plied by Megabus and realizing I could get to nearby Lexington from New York for only $63, round trip. (Warning: the bus trip is far from direct and took me a total of 17 hours on the road, with two connections.) As my method of transit within the state, I chose a bicycle. Bikes are the most social form of of transportation; people wave to you, and you can stop in anywhere to fill a water bottle or charge a phone. Though Kentucky has plenty of beautiful scenery, my hope was that this trip would be about people. Bring on the discomfort.
Joe Bowen and the bike he rode across the country.CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times 
After some emails and phone calls with two avid Lexington cyclists — Randy Thomas, president of the Bluegrass Cycling Club, and Allen Kirkwood of the nonprofit Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop — I had a four-day, 160-mile back roads route through a bit of bluegrass country, best known for its horses and bourbon, and then east into the hills. I would pass by Red River Gorge in Daniel Boone National Forest, and tiny towns with nary a restaurant or motel before picking up about 20 miles of a new bike and horse path, the Dawkins Line Rail Trail. It ends near a small town called Paintsville, which happens to be home to a rare Enterprise Rent-a-Car office that could get me back to Lexington and my return bus.
But first, the bike. At Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling in Lexington, a Trek Domane 4.3 was $160 for up to a week. Once I had wended my way out of the city, things got scenic fast: car-free country lanes lined with deep-brown, four-rail fences enclosing lush pastures dotted with horses that barely moved in the heat. It felt like riding through a painting, until a horse’s tail whisked away a fly or a wind gust rustled a tree.
A couple of hours in, things began to change. Horses gave way to cows, fences got shabbier, the paint on homes more weathered. And I finally began to encounter people, as in the tiny, worn center of North Middletown, population 650 or so, where I stopped at a gas station and convenience store that was — typically, I would later learn — the lone source of action in town. I treated myself to a soft ice cream ($1.69) and asked a man sitting outside what was going on. “Nothing,” he said. “People are either on welfare or on drugs.”
Back on my bike, I headed through a route dotted with barns. Slender gaps in the boards of one older barn created a strobe effect as I rode past. Outside another, dozens of goats lounged in the shade, only to scatter as I approached, as had horses earlier in the trip.
Thirty-odd miles later, after an unfussy $9.99 catfish dinner at Kathy’s Country Kitchen in Clay City, I checked into the nondescript Abner Motel ($60 for the night), expecting to collapse on my bed. However, Mexican ranchera music was playing in the parking lot and I wandered out to inquire. A mostly Latino group of workers on a local gas pipeline was occupying a row of rooms, and had set up a barbecue.
Continue reading the main story
North Middletown
Country Side 
Red River Gorge 
Geographical Area
Clay City
Hazel Green
Sky Bridge
Angel Windows
A Texas-born Mexican-American gave me a Corona and pointed me toward the grill; Salvadoran immigrants from Tallahassee, Fla., talked about the time they had worked on a Nantucket golf course where Bill Clinton played; and a burly West Virginia ironworker named Jim urged me to try his co-worker’s freshly made salsa. Jim also tried to give me a tutorial on the use of white bread as a leak-stopper for cracked PVC pipe. Ah, people. So much more welcoming than horses or goats...
Keep reading at

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Why I'm Done Wearing a Helmet

Breakfast rides became a popular Sunday non-event a generation ago. The rides were the idea of Harold Absalonson. This photo was taken March 28, 1983. (Rich Landers/Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review)
Breakfast rides became a popular Sunday non-event a generation ago. The rides were the idea of Harold Absalonson. This photo was taken March 28, 1983. (Rich Landers/Photo Archive/The Spokesman-Review)
By Lindsey Wallace
I’m done wearing a bike helmet.
Now, don’t hold me to that. Maybe I’ll want one in the winter when the roads are icy. Maybe I’ll be required to wear one on a group ride. Maybe I’ll travel cross-country, planning to bike on deserted roads. But when it comes to casual riding, I’m done.
At the conference I attended last week, I mentioned, “I don’t wear a helmet, and I’m a public health professional,” to audible gasps and laughter. I invited people to ask me why later, and many of them did. I’ll share with you what I told them in just a moment, but let me preface this: I think the main problem around making an informed decision about whether to wear a helmet is hard because there isn’t great data around helmet use. Due to the confirmation bias, we’re all looking for information to back up the belief that we already have. Do your own research, use your own brain, and figure out what seems right and feels right for you.


A 1987 study of helmet use determined that helmets reduce the risk of serious injury by 85%. That’s a statistic you’ll still see all over the place. The problem is, that study was deeply flawed and has been refuted. Governmental agencies have stopped using this number due to issues with the study. Other more recent studies have investigated the question of helmet efficacy, and have found that the benefit is not nearly as high as we used to think. One well-done study that evaluated all the current studies out there (called a meta-analysis), found there to be no benefit to helmet use when you take into account all types of injuries. Helmets protect against certain kinds of injuries (those to the head) and increase the likelihood of other injuries (those to the neck). Any study about helmet use is very hard to do well. You can’t assign one group of people to use helmets and another group of people not to use them. All you can do is look at two groups of people and compare them. The people who wear helmets are likely more safety-conscious than those who don’t, which makes comparing the two groups very difficult and will make it appear that helmets are more protective than they actually are.
People will so often put up photos on social media of obliterated helmets and say, “Holy crap, look at my helmet! It saved my life!” But helmets are not supposed to shatter. When a helmet protects your head from a serious injury, the styrofoam inside will be compressed and stay that way. Most of the pictures I’ve seen are of helmets that have broken apart. It’s likely that the helmet did not protect someone from a severe injury.
Cyclists don’t die from just falling off their bikes, they die because they are hit by cars. Bike helmets only protect against certain types of injuries to certain parts of the head, and the evidence is not compelling that they even do that well...

Bikes are not cars, and infrastructure is better than helmets

vancouver bike lane

CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter/ Vancouver bike infrastructure
We do go on about bike safety, primarily the question of whether the emphasis should be on building better infrastructure for cyclists so they don’t get squished or mandating helmets for their head to try and protect them when they do. On the Alternative Department for Transport, a UK website, the author notes that in the UK people do wear helmets and hi-vis vests- because they are afraid not to.
If we genuinely want to make cycling safer, more helmets aren’t the solution. They are really a good indicator that the streets aren’t safe. When people don’t feel safe when cycling, they will wear a helmet – and hi-vis vest – with or without advertising.
Higher helmet use shouldn’t be a goal, it should be seen as a failure of policy, an embarrassing statistic. An increase in helmets is a sign that the government has failed miserably in their duty to provide safe streets.

The Minister of the ADFT (he doesn’t give his name) goes on to suggest that the real solution is better infrastructure, with good bike lanes optimized for safety. He suggests that helmet laws and promotion campaigns are just a way for governments to shift responsibility, as if they are saying saying “if you get hurt, you’ve only yourself to blame”...

Read on at

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Paris to let cyclists skip red lights | BBC

A man rides a bicycle on the Esplanade du Trocadero in front of the Eiffel tower, on March 11, 2014
Paris plans to triple the number of cyclists in the city by 2020
Cyclists in Paris are to be allowed to ride through red lights after tests showed the move would not lead to accidents.
Traffic lights for bicycles will be placed under the traffic lights for cars on some junctions.
The lights will indicate when bikes can either turn right or ride ahead - even when lights for cars are on red.

Infrastructure vs Helmets

The safest country in the world for cycling is the Netherlands. There you’ll also find the widest spectrum of people cycling: from young children (the average age at which children begin to cycle independently is about 8 years old) to elderly people (those over 65 cycle for over 25% of journeys).
So, the Netherlands is the safest country for cycling at any age, yet helmet use is only 0.5% – and it’s likely that the 1-in-200 helmet-wearing cyclists are riding for sport. Cycling safety is clearly something more than wearing a styrofoam hat – and yet the German ministry for transport is gung-ho for helmets.
A montage of six Dutch cycling scenes: two young ladies, an older man, a woman with a child in a box-bike and another child riding alongside, a group of teenagers, an older woman, and two young children.
All ages and physical abilities, cycling without helmets – yet the safest in the world.
Helmets are no answer to dangers on the street. In the UK, most cyclists wear a helmet, yet cycling there is six times more dangerous than in the Netherlands (and that figure ignores the fact that hardly any children or elderly people cycle there). 
If we genuinely want to make cycling safer, more helmets aren’t the solution. They are really a good indicator that the streets aren’t safe. When people don’t feel safe when cycling, they will wear a helmet – and hi-vis vest – with or without advertising...

Biking on bobsled track at Trebevic, Sarajevo

Technical FAQ: Minimum tire pressure and more

Photo: Caley Fretz |

On minimum tire pressure

Dear Lennard,
I read with interest your reply to Manny with regard to 25mm tyre pressures. I recently purchased 25mm Vittoria Open Corsa SC tyres, and these are clearly marked with “Clincher MIN to MAX pressure: 115 to 145 PSI.” This seems quite unreasonably high to me, so I’m wondering what is a safe minimum pressure to use with 25mm clinchers (would be interesting to hear from your contacts at other tyre manufacturers), and why does Vittoria see the need for such a high minimum pressure?
— Simon
Dear Simon (I sent this answer directly to Simon),
Here is the response to your question from Vittoria:
According to ETRTO, bicycle tires are allowed to deflect 30% of its height at maximum load only. We respect the ETRTO, but we do not limit the body weight of our customers. 115PSI minimum air pressure is the consequence for our high-end 25mm tire with its very flexible casing; the minimum air pressure is related to the worst case: heavy load, rear wheel, aged tire.
We will address this matter more precisely on our MY16 new models.
— Christian Lademann – Product Manager
Vittoria S.p.A.
I’m not going to tell you to do anything differently with your Vittoria tire than Vittoria’s product manager just told you. However, since you’re asking generally what minimum pressure you can with 25mm clinchers in general, I can answer it generally. The safe minimum tire pressure is certainly a function of rider weight, and you’ve not given me yours. I, at 174 pounds, have ridden safely for extended periods on many different 25mm clinchers, both standard clinchers and open tubular clinchers on smooth roads, at as low as 75 psi in the rear and 65 psi in the front. I haven’t measured to see if I get over 30% tire drop at those pressures, but tire squirm is not an issue for me at those pressures...


WinBib - Protection From Headwinds @WinBibDan


Useful at any temperature from the 60's down.

  • Turn any garment into a wind-proof garment.
  • Localized Layering™ adds warmth and comfort to any level of  layering.
  • Wear under a short-sleeve tee or jersey to stay comfortable in cool weather, even with strong headwinds
  • Wear between base layers and a warm jacket for increased comfort
  • Increase the warmth & comfort of any  outer layer, with a minimum of bulk
  • Easy to put on or take off, without removing the outermost layer.
  • Aero!  Nothing flaps in the wind.
  • Can be worn as an outermost layer if desired
  • Machine wash cold, tumble dry low
  • A versatile and comfortable tool for your keep-warm toolbox
All models use a comfortable neck strap with a buckle at the left shoulder.  For those who want to wear a WinBib™ as their outermost layer, tabs at the lower corners can be used to tie a string (not provided) around the waist.
The WinBib™ is proudly Made in the USA.  Designed and manufactured in New England, all models feature authentic US-made Polartec® brand fleece and other domestically produced materials.  Patent-pending.

[More at WinBib]

Lumos: A Next Generation Bicycle Helmet

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Mission for Citi Bike: Recruiting More Female Cyclists | NY Times

A woman rode a Citi Bike near Madison Square Park on Monday. Women take about a quarter of all Citi Bike trips and make up just under a third of its members. CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times 

When she passes a row of shiny blue Citi Bikes in Manhattan, Yael Steren often wants to stop and take one for a ride. Then the doubt creeps in.
Braving city traffic without a helmet seems too risky. But carrying one around all day would be a hassle.
“I know how crazy the drivers are here,” said Ms. Steren, 36, a personal stylist who lives in Greenwich Village.
Like many women in New York City, she has weighed the wind-in-your-hair joy of urban cycling with the pulse-quickening anxiety of steering between barreling trucks and decided against taking a spin.
When Citi Bike arrived here, it promised to spread the benefits of biking to the masses, an uphill push in a city where large potholes, heedless yellow cabs and darting pedestrians can make riding on busy streets seem like an activity best left for daring messengers.
But two years in, Citi Bike’s inroads have been decidedly uneven, with men far outnumbering women in using the bike-sharing system. A little time on Eighth Avenue on a recent morning, watching the stream of Citi Bike riders heading north past Pennsylvania Station and toward Times Square, was instructive. Man after man pedaled by, some in suits, others in jeans. From time to time, a woman on a Citi Bike rode by.
[Keep reading at NY Times]